Friday, July 13, 2012

Nyah is Twelve!

Nyah is growing up!  She is now taller than her older brother, Ian, and is heading off to Junior High in the fall.  Things are a changin' around these parts!

Nyah decided to have a "friend" party this year.  We rented "Miss Debby's Pool", bought lots of snacks, and headed off to swim the night away.

Nyah got $40 from Grandma Sue and Grandpa David.  Look at that smile!

The morning started out with French Puffs.

I wonder what she wished for?!

Setting up for the party!
Carson enjoyed the sun at Nyah's party.  He and Ian both refused to get into the pool without goggles.  They claim to be blinded by chlorine without them.

Nyah insisted on a flotation device to lounge around in the pool with.  What the birthday girl wants, the birthday girl gets . . . as long as it is $2 or less!!  (This floatie went into the trash right after the party ended!)

Ian had a great time showing off in front of 9 girls!

The slide was the favorite part!

Acting sassy on the diving board. . .

Ready or not, WORLD!  Here comes Nyah!

Our Distinguished Young Woman

"Distinguished Young Women is a national scholarship program that inspires high school girls to develop their full, individual potential through a fun, transformative experience that culminates in a celebratory showcase of their accomplishments."

Cali decided to participate in the showcase.  All it took to prepare was:
1)  8 months of practicing Chopin's Black Key Etude for the talent portion
2) 2 months of practice for an aerobic physical fitness dance
3) months of reading current events to prepare for the interview portion
4) countless hours of shopping for an interview outfit, talent outfit, and self expression dress
5) 11 years of great grades in school!

It was so fun helping Cali prepare.  Her grandmas and I listened to her play her piano piece countless times, Nyah practiced the aerobic dance with Cali over and over again, Aaron and I quizzed her relentlessly about her family, service projects, school activities, and current events.

In the end, it came down to ONE day.  Cali drove off to the Covey Center at 8:30 a.m.  to do a practice run of the show.  She was allowed to have zero communication with her family and friends throughout the entire day.  She wasn't  interviewed by the judges until 4 p.m.  She told us later that they asked her 2 questions she did not know how to answer:
1) "Cali, what do Taylor Swift, the music group The Civil Wars, and the movie, The Hunger Games all have in common?"
Cali's favorite musical group is The Civil Wars and it turns out that Taylor Swift is featured in a song by her favorite group in The Hunger Games movie.  Who would've known?!
2) The next scary question was . . . "Michelle Obama is one of the women you respect.  Tell us about the MARS initiative."
It turns out, all Cali had to say was (this is me being sarcastic). . . "Well . . .Mars, the company behind Snickers, Twix, and M&Ms, has announced that it will be discontinuing its king-size candy bars (and any other treat that exceeds 250 calories) by 2013.The move comes at the behest of First Lady Michelle Obama. Mars is one of 16 companies in the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation who have pledged to eliminate 1.5 trillion calories by 2015, an initiative spearheaded by FLOTUS.
But, unfortunately, Cali hadn't heard of this intitiative!

Cali answered all the other questions in her interview brilliantly and left the judges smiling with her 45 second wrap up.  She said she felt pretty good about it overall.

Of course, I am biased, but I was so proud of her performances on stage.  Her piano number was beautiful, and she kept a smile on her face the entire time when asked the final question on stage:  "You told us earlier today in your interview how you have influenced your brothers and sister.  What have they taught you?"  Neither of us remember exactly what her response was, but it had something to do with being an individual, proud of who you are, and loving each other no matter what.

I am truly in awe of my daughter.  She is a great example to me of not being afraid to do uncomfortable things and shooting for the stars!  She is a brave girl.

Cali's AMAZING teacher, Bonny, came to support her at the competition.

Cali's friend, Natalie, also gets to go onto State!

Nyah was so proud of her big sister!

Louis came to support Cali.  Cali is actually wearing Louis's jewelry.

We LOVE this girl!

Cali's beautiful friend, Mendy, helped her every step of the way.   Mendy participated in Distinguished Young Women last year, won gobs of scholarships, and is the reason Cali decided to try it!

Grandma and the family got her lots of flowers.  Feel the love!

Grandma Sue and Grandma Joannie were so proud of their oldest granddaughter.

I'm going to admit that I shed some tears that night!

Uncle Caleb came out to support his niece.  He is awesome!
Cali ended up being one of the top four girls in the competition.  She won $1,000 in scholarship money and gets to go on to compete in the State Competition in February.  Congratulations, Calz!

Monday, July 9, 2012

He's an EAGLE!!

After months and months and months and months of excruciating work and planning,  Ian finally received his Eagle at the ripe old age of 13.  Grandpa David and Grandpa Markie both felt that this was a wrong done to society.  No boy should be able to reach the height of the Eagle this young . . . "It's just wrong somehow . . . "  Well, guess what?!  I don't know if his mother could've taken one more second of the Eagle process.  It truly is a family affair getting it all accomplished.

Everyone came out to help celebrate the special night.  Grandma Sue and Grandpa David came all the way from California.  Our friend, Louis, had never been invited to "such an affair" in her 80 years, and was thrilled to come.
Davin came all the way from Elkridge!  I think he was mostly there for Cali, but we'll pretend it was for Ian's Eagle.

Brother Belcher attended.  He has been one of Ian's Scout leaders  since Ian was  a Webelo.

This was Ian's photo on the front of his invitations.  Isn't he handsome?!

I made a cake that Ian wouldn't eat.  He is very choosy about desserts.  He will only eat sugar cookies or Oreos.  I figured we needed something shaped like a flag though.  The Barefoot Contessa provided the recipe.  Grandma Sue said it was delicious!  I liked the looks of it, but couldn't try it because of the gluten.

Emmy Lou, Ryan, Brock and Ty all made the trip to Spanish Fork from  Taft, California.  We were so glad they were in town to help us celebrate!

Brother and Sister Tibbs helped Ian every step of the way to his Eagle.  Brother Tibbs has been one of Ian's Scout leaders since Ian was 10 years old.  They both know everything there is to know about Scouts and helped us get the paperwork done.  They are amazing!

Neighbors and friends came to support Ian that night.  James and Lisa gave Ian a platter of shrimp to help him celebrate.  He was very happy.  Very, very happy!!

Grandma Sue and Grandpa David made Ian a BEAUTIFUL quilt.  The back is made out of  minky.  Ian sleeps with it every night.

Ian presented Aaron and I with the Mother's and Father's pins.  Then we sat down to  watch Ian present the Mentor pin.  He had decided to keep the recipient a secret from everyone.  I was kind of nervous to see who he was going to present it to, and what he would say.  Was he going to tell a joke?  Was he going to present it to the family dog?  I had no idea.  Ian stood up and said, "It didn't take me long to decide who to give my Mentor pin to . . . my MOM!  (What?!)  She made 500 sugar cookies for this thing tonight and helped me fill out all of my paperwork.  And . . . well, she gave birth to me."  I had tears in my eyes when he presented it to me.  What a sweetie!  Baking those 500 cookies was worth it after all!

Ian had some great examples of former Eagle Earners who set great examples for him:  Uncle Josh, Uncle Caleb, Uncle Ryan . . .and of course, his Dad.  It was a great night for Ian to shine.  

I'm Growing an 8 Pack!

As part of the Heber Summer Health Challenge, the boys have been doing sit ups and push ups.  Carson informed me today that he is "growing an 8 pack!"

Upon hearing Carson's claim, Ian pulled up his own shirt and said, "Carson, you only have a 4 pack.  I have an 8 pack."  I have personally never heard of a 4 pack or an 8 pack, but . . . we are going with it.  Maybe by the end of the summer, their mom and dad will grow a 2 liter.  We'll have to see!